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Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015
On February 11, 2015, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015. Among other notable measures, it would allow the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to provide fertility treatment to service men and women, veterans and their spouses who have suffered severe war injuries. The bill would expand access to fertility treatment at the DoD and lift the ban on IVF treatment at the VA, and provide adoption assistance for veteran families.
“In our decade-long experience working daily with this generation of wounded warriors, we know there is a need to provide reproductive services and adoption assistance to assist in helping severely wounded, ill, or injured veterans with fertility conditions to have families,” said Charlie Abell, executive vice president of Policy and Government Affairs at the Wounded Warrior Project.
According to the Wounded Warrior Project, blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan have inflicted traumatic physical wounds as well as invisible psychological wounds. The Department of Defense (DoD) has acknowledged the impact of these, and this bill authorizes and provides guidance on assisted reproductive services for seriously injured service members. For many it would provide their only opportunity to have children.
“To truly honor and empower wounded warriors, we must go beyond merely ‘restoring the health of the individual’ – we need to look at the impact that having a family can have on veterans’ long-term quality of life,” Abell said. “We urge the Senator’s colleagues to support and enact this legislation and we look forward to working with Senator Murray and Congress to see these provisions enacted into law.”